You may never become Xavier from the X-Men, able to read and control people's minds. But one day, using a computer interface, you could control somebody else's behavior and possibly even communicate using thought. The technology you see demonstrated in this video is the first step.
This kind of interface has already been used between two rats, as well as between a human and a rat. There's no need for brain implants or Inception-style drugs. Controller Roa wore an EEG that monitors electrical activity in his brain through the skull. With a simple thought, he sent a signal to a computer. This computer passed the signal onto the Stocco, the controllee. He wore a magnetic stimulation coil that sends powerful but harmless magnetic signals through his skull to the motor center of his brain. The result? His fingers twitched on a keyboard.
It's a small step, but it's a brilliant proof-of-concept. One person can use a computer to control another person's movements. Possession is no longer the stuff of fantasy novels.
According to a release from Washington University:
Rao looked at a computer screen and played a simple video game with his mind. When he was supposed to fire a cannon at a target, he imagined moving his right hand (being careful not to actually move his hand), causing a cursor to hit the “fire” button. Almost instantaneously, Stocco, who wore noise-canceling earbuds and wasn’t looking at a computer screen, involuntarily moved his right index finger to push the space bar on the keyboard in front of him, as if firing the cannon. Stocco compared the feeling of his hand moving involuntarily to that of a nervous tic.
“It was both exciting and eerie to watch an imagined action from my brain get translated into actual action by another brain,” Rao said. “This was basically a one-way flow of information from my brain to his. The next step is having a more equitable two-way conversation directly between the two brains.”
This isn't the kind of mind control technology that would work stealthily. You need to wear bulky brain interface devices on your head. So don't worry — you don't need to protect yourself with tin foil. Yet.
Read more on the Washington University research website